What happens when one person wants to pay tribute to a friend, help a cause and remember a legendary event in sport? MINI to Monto Carlo 2005, which took to the streets of Ireland today.
Irish rally driver, Eamon Harvey, lost his battle with cancer two years ago this month. His friend, Brian McDaid, has been thinking of a way to honor his memory almost ever since. When the Donegal Hospice, the facility that had cared for Eamon at the end, had to raise much needed funds this year, Brian decided to do something for them. What a 'something' it is!
When Brian put his ideas into action, he unleashed a tidal wave of support in County Donegal. Brian approached the MINI dealer in town with his idea of driving 5,000km from Letterkenny, his hometown and the location of the hospice, to Monte Carlo. Not only would this be a fundraiser, but also a tie to rally, which was such a part of Eamon's life. Why the MINI? In the 1960s, rally driver Paddy Hopkirk drove the MINI to victory at the Monte Carlo Rally. This is why Brian wanted a MINI for this sentimental journey, which includes a stop at the 2005 Monte Carlo Rally, of course. The answer from the MINI owner was swift and Brian was off to raise the much needed funds.
Since getting the vehicle he'd take, the support has been overwhelming, most of which did not happen online. Sure, there is a website, but most people learned of this journey "the old fashioned way", through the multiple newspapers in town that have covered the fundraising, seeing the MINI buzzing around this last month and word of mouth on the streets of Letterkenny and the surrounding towns.
Brian's had support through donations of tires, fuel and hotel accommodations. He's taking all of these individuals and companies (and many, many more) on the road with him through signage on the sides and the checkered top of the car.
The only thing Brian was missing was a navigator for the round trip. In some ways that was the easiest piece of the puzzle. His brother, Neil McDaid, jumped at the chance to navigate (and do a bit of driving, of course!) on the journey. Neil gathered support in Boston, where he currently resides, before flying home to Ireland to join his brother.
Brian and Neil began their journey this evening driving through Ireland and taking a ferry to Scotland, driving through England and then across to France where their first stop will be Paris. They plan to update their journey on the website through words and photos, if you care to follow along the next week and a half. I'm sure it won't be a boring trip and you never know who they will meet along the way.
Although final calculations are not in, Brian McDaid's wish to raise awareness for the Donegal Hospice in memory of his dear friend may just have exceeded his original expectations through the generosity of the people touched by the story and goal for such a worthy cause. It's amazing what one person can do when he (or she!) puts his mind and heart into a project.
Just a tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.